[This article was initially published on Forbes.com in February 2016]
It’s 11 a.m. and you’ve already managed to launch your new social media campaign, including live Q&A for your customers via Periscope; completed your stand-up team breakfast with your local team; and joined a hangout session with your virtual freelancers. You haven’t only walked the dog and prepared a fresh, organic breakfast, but managed to squeeze in 30 minutes of yoga. All in all, you are not doing too bad on your New Year’s resolutions.
The Digital Era has made us meet with infinite advantages to perform our activities in a more efficient and faster way. But also, this becomes a disadvantage when these facts become a digital distraction. In our world of connected everything, the lines between business and private life are blurred, and that has an impact on individuals, their performance and their health. To stay ahead of the game and push your career to the next level requires more focus and productivity than ever before. The best way to get where you want and highly improve the benefits not only of your business but also your life’s is by getting rid of the digital distractions.
Being highly productive and achieving beyond the mediocre level can still be done — it just requires two companions: presence and commitment. Whether you write your next blog article or discuss this year’s digital innovation jam schedule with your team, focus on the present moment and stay fully committed to what you are doing. Imagine a 100-meter sprint champion at the Olympics. In those few seconds between the start and finish, he is not thinking about vacation plans or checking latest tweets. Instead, he is focused fully on the present moment, his mind fully committed to one thing: running fast. I am personally far away from being eligible for the 100-meter sprint at the Olympics, but I have seen presence and commitment be significant game changers for individual talents who want to become super achievers in these digitally disruptive, challenging times. To help you achieve at the top level you want and deserve — beyond the first 12 weeks of this year — try following these four tips.
- Stick to One Task at a Time: A screen full of apps makes it tempting to multitask. The question about which gender is more capable of multitasking is negligent because it’s just bad for all of us. One task at a time brings you step by step in the direction you want to go.
- Set Boundaries: Interruptions are killers – whether it is your phone ringing in the middle of an important conversation or the status update from your team member on a social media platform. Both cases distract you and let your mind wander away from the task at hand, requiring you an average of 20 minutes to fully get back. Say out loud “I am working on X now, and nothing else” to re-focus!
- Cut Your Day Into Slices: Real productivity masters don’t waste a minute of their highly valuable time. They learn how to work with their time not against it. Set your timer on your phone for 25 minutes and give your undivided attention to just that task for the allotted time. Go for a 5-minute break before you start your next productivity slot. It’s unbelievable how much can be done in just a few hours of attentive work time.
- Prioritize: “Urgent” and “important” are not the same thing, even in the digital era. Whenever something pops up at your device as a to-do, ask yourself just two questions: a) is this part of my core focus topic today? b) is there a real urgency behind this? And only those tasks that get a “yes” to both answers need to be taken care of right away. All the other ones are deleted, disregarded, postponed or delegated.
Despite all technological advancement, there is neither an app nor any gadget that can get you into a committed mindset and force you to focus on the present. There are many tools available that help you work on any aspect of becoming a super achiever, but even in the digital economy, it is the power of your mind that differentiates the mediocre crowd from real high performers.
Michaela Lindinger is CEO and founder of braininspa.com where she works with innovative organizations and millennial talents to increase performance and improve health in the digital industry. Find out more about her at braininspa.com